With a steady stream of ghosting clients, I am often asked what comes after the manuscript is written and edited.
Well, this depends on which publishing road you’ll be taking: self-publishing or traditional publishing.
Since the majority of my clients go the self-pubbing route, I’ll start there.
BASIC PAGES AND COPY (in addition to the story).
1. You’ll need back cover copy. This is a brief synopsis of the story, usually 100-200 words. It needs to be ‘grabbing’ and ‘clear.’
2. It’s a good idea to have an About the Author or Author’s Note page at the end of the story. It’s definitely optional though.
3. A Copyright page – you can include acknowledgements on this page.
4. A Dedication / Acknowledgment page is a thought.
5. Some authors want a Preface page, but in most cases this isn’t necessary.
6. If you have words that may need to be defined for the young reader, you might include a Glossary right after the story. Most authors don’t bother with this.
7. Then there’s the Activity Page and Reading Comprehension Page. If you’re hoping to get your book into the classroom this is a must.
Unless you’re creating your own pages, these items will be an additional fee.
If you have a children’s picture book you’ll need to get illustrations done. Depending on your budget, you’ll need to decide if you want 14 interior illustrations (one per spread) or 32 illustrations (one per page). A standard picture book is 32 pages.
Keep in mind that a full spread is considered two pages and you will be charged for two illustrations.
Note: A spread is the two pages you see when you have a book open. For example, pages 1 and 2 / pages 3 and 4 / and so on.
Pricing for illustrations vary. I recommend a few illustrators to my clients: the cost is somewhere between $80-$150 per interior illustration. There are others who charge $200 and up per interior illustration.
The book cover is a BIGGIE. The cover is one of the most influential elements to motivate someone to pick up your book. You want it done right. Covers are more money than interior spreads.
You might also want to go for a small back cover illustration. This isn’t really necessary though. You can simply have a colored back cover with your synopsis on it. Possibly include an image of yourself (the author).
On the flip side, you can probably get illustrations cheaper through various services / illustrators. Just be sure the one you choose is capable of creating quality illustrations.
Again, cover illustrations are more.
Here are a three places you can look for illustrators:
http:// blueberryillustrations.com /childrens-book-illustrations\
(Sorry I had to break up the last link, WP kept bringing up the clip for it.)
You can also do a Google search. Just please be careful. Be sure to review a portfolio of their work and books they’ve done.
So, you can see that self-publishing a children’s picture book can get pretty expensive.
Hot Tip: Unless you’re a professional illustrator, or really, really, really good, don’t attempt to do your own illustrations.
Checking the Illustrations and Illustrations to text.
Unless you hire someone to oversee this process, you will need to make sure there are no errors in the illustrations.
For the first part, you need to carefully review each illustration, including the cover and back cover (if you have an image on the back cover).
It can be something as simple as part of a foot missing, or a picture described in the story conveyed wrong in the illustration. These, among many others, were mistakes I found for one of my clients who hired me to oversee this process for him.
It can even be consistency, maybe how the characters look throughout the story or even the background scenery. In one project, the illustrator had molding in some illustrations and none in others where is should have been.
You’ll have to have a keen eye for this stuff, but getting it right is the difference between a good quality product and a poor quality product.
For the illustrations to text review, it’s the same. You want to make sure the illustration fits the text per spread. Most illustrators get this right, but I’ve come across a few who do make mistakes.
This is your book. You want it to be the best it can be. This means getting all the details right.
Having the book ghostwritten and illustrated can take around 3 months, possibly longer.
Using myself as an example, I usually take one-four weeks to write a children’s picture book manuscript of 800 – 3000 words (depends on what my clients’ needs/ wants). I do mention in my freelance agreement that it can take up to six weeks.
It’s important to know that if you’re self-publishing your word count can be over 1000 words. If you’re going the traditional route it’s a good idea to stay around or under 800 words.
Another factor in the time it takes to write the story is the time it takes the client to respond to questions and approvals of content. If a client takes more than a couple of days to respond to emails, the time frame will be thrown off.
Getting the interior and exterior illustrations done can take two-four months, sometimes more. It will depend on the illustrator you use and his/her workload.
GETTING THE BOOK PUBLISHED (ready for distribution / sale)
Depending on your budget, you can hire someone from a site like Fiverr.com to format and upload your book onto Kindle and/or other publishing venues.
Or, you can hire a service, like BookBaby to do it for you. This route will cost more money, but you’ll have all your “Is” dotted and “Ts” crossed.
Self-Publishing a Chapter or Simple Middle Grade Book
If you have a chapter or simple middle grade book ghosted, you’ll only need illustrations for each chapter. And, they can be simple grey tone sketches.
While it’s not an absolute must to have illustrations for these books, it does help with engagement for the young reader.
THE TRADITIONAL ROAD
The traditional route will cost much less. All you’ll be paying for is the ghostwriter. You won’t need illustrations.
While it will cost less, it will certainly take a lot longer.
You’ll have to submit your manuscript to publishers and/or literary agents to hopefully get a contract. You’ll need a query letter for this. And, having a synopsis of the story is a good idea also.
When and if a contract happens, it takes an average of two years before your book is actually published. So, patience will be needed.
And, be prepared for the publisher’s editor to go over your story and possibly request changes. This is just part of the process. Be open to suggestions.
I recommend you get the most recent edition of “Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market” by Writer’s Digest Books. This book provides information on publishers and agents in the children’s writing arena. These are the people you’ll be submitting your manuscript to.
And, for more information on traditional publishing, you can read:
THE AUTHOR WEBSITE
Before you publish your book, you absolutely need an author website. Publishers and agents will expect this. And, if you’re self-publishing it’s even more important.
According to Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest, in his book “Create Your Writer Platform,” an author’s platform (its visibility, connections, and reach) is a key factor when looking for a publisher or agent.
Take note that this is not after a book is published; it’s when the author is looking for a contract. Your platform begins with a website.
Summing it Up
This is a basic run-down of what to expect and what you’ll need to do to get your ghostwritten manuscript published.
MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
Make Your Children’s Writing Website Focused – 3 Must-Haves, 6 Tips
Editing a Children’s Book – 10 Tips Checklist for Authors
Submitting Your Manuscript – 8 Tips
4 Book Marketing Strategies Guaranteed to Keep Your Platform Moving Forward
Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can help turn your story into a publishable and saleable book.
Shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700